Compact motorhomes: everything you need to know to make the right decision

What is a compact motorhome? What are the pros and cons of small templates? Low profiles, vans, integrals and overcabs … This article gives you an overview of the subject.

Compactness is relative. A van in a small utility vehicle (Renault Trafic, Volkswagen Transporter) is always lower than a motorhome. However, in each category of motorhomes (vans, low profiles, overhead cabins, all-wheel drive), there are models of limited size. It is even a trend of the moment: motorhomes with reduced width and tubeless profiles are multiplying.

This is what can be called a compact motorhome:

  • Length: up to 6.50 m
  • Height: up to 2.70 m
  • Width: up to 2.22 m

Please note that most equipped vans meet these criteria. In profile and all-wheel drive motorhomes, on the other hand, these criteria are rarely combined … A profile of 6.50 m is considered compact, even if it is 2.30 m wide.

Also read our article
Narrow profile or tight van: how to choose

What size, what type of motorhome

Van, van and motorhome

  • The most compact are obviously the emerging vans, which measure about 2 meters high, 4.90 m or 5.30 m long. A car size, which allows them to pass under the height bars of parking lots and maneuver easily in the city.
  • Converted vans they are intermediate, with a total height generally around 2.60 m, and lengths of 5.41 m, 5.99 m and 6.36 m (for the most common models).
  • Motorhome profile: is in the catalogs of manufacturers of profiles of less than 6 meters, and up to 7.50 m. We will therefore consider that a compact measures between 5.99 m and 6.50 m.
  • Integral motorhomes: There are still some Class A models of 6.50 m among the offer of certain manufacturers.
  • The hoods: they are not usually considered compact, due to their height of more than 3 meters. But the presence of the bed protruding from the cabin saves space. There are, therefore, caps of less than 6 meters.

Width matters

  • The vans they are 2.05 m wide. It is a constant, as the vehicle is not bodywork.
  • The width of motorhomes generally exceeds 2.30 m. But there are more and more motorhomes with a reduced width (about 2.20 m).

Also read our article
In case of buying a motorhome of reduced width

The advantages of the compact motorhome


Carthago C-Compacline 138DB

A compact is always more manageable. Any thinning effort (in length and width) makes it easier to fit in parking spaces, city streets or rural roads. Height also plays a role: some motorhome owners opt for a section less than 2.70 m, because the entrance to their garage does not allow them more …

Remember, however, that motorhome owners over 7.50m are doing very well. Driving is the same as in a car, although the size and absence of the rear window are more reminiscent of a light commercial vehicle.

Best payload

A more compact motorhome is also lighter. One detail that should not be overlooked: our 3.5-ton motorhomes (those that can be driven with a B license) always have a limited load capacity. We always end up counting the material and luggage. Therefore, any weight gain is an asset.

What a disposition

Who says compact says less space on board. Traditionally, a compact motorhome (van, integral or profiled) will offer a rear bed in the direction of the width (transverse bed). A distribution that optimizes the space and preserves a bathroom, a kitchen and a dining room of suitable size.

Another option, for compact motorhomes, is the rear lounge. The benches and the table become a double bed to spend the night.

Motorhomes without a room: this is one of the most fashionable designs of the moment. The motorhome has a roof bed at the front, which goes down to the living room. The stern of the vehicle is dedicated to a bathroom and storage room.

Finally, some manufacturers are making ingenious efforts to create compact motorhomes with designs comparable to large ones. There are, therefore, vans and low profiles of less than 7 meters with twin beds, or even low and full profiles with a central bed of 6.50 m. The central bed can also be found next to certain short profiles.

What brands

5.41 m vans and 6.50 m low profiles are not uncommon. It is found in most brands. For a full view of the manufacturers, see our online shopping guide (the search engine for which includes the length criterion.

  • Profiles less than 6 meters: Wingamm, Carado, Etruscan, Sunlight, Bavaria, Chellenger, Chausson, Pilot, Adria, Benimar, Bürstner, Dethleffs, Fleurette, Florium, Giottiline, Hymer, Knaus, Laika, McLouis, Weinsberg.
  • Integrals around less than 6.50 m: Knaus, Bavaria, Dethleffs, Hymer, Pilote, Carthago, Frankia, Eura-Mobil.
  • Motorhomes with a central bed of 6.50 m: Bavaria, Pilot, Fleurette, Florium,
  • Motorhome with central bed and reduced width: Carthage (C-Compactline), Hobby (Van Optima Ontour Edition), Dethleffs (Globebus).

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